Austin resolution ignited by St. Edward’s student’s work to address food insecurity

Rebecca R. Ammons

A proposed Austin resolution — influenced by the perform of a scholar civic group — could aid people residing in meals-insecure spots have much more entry to wholesome food stuff via extra bus routes connecting to grocery suppliers.

The resolution, sponsored by Metropolis Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, consists of strategies proposed by St. Edward’s University Civics Lab learners and phone calls for amplified frequency on the routes that connect food stuff-insecure places in Austin to healthy foods alternatives. Moreover, the plan seeks to spot grocery suppliers, foods pantries and farmers marketplaces on transit maps, as nicely as allow for people today to utilize for the Supplemental Nourishment Help Software via the Cash Metro application.

If approved by the town and CapMetro, public transit buses would also function audio and visible bulletins of wholesome food solutions for travellers on board when buses cease at or close to grocery suppliers.

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To access its goal, the resolution directs the town manager to get the job done with CapMetro and nonprofit companies that aid meals access in Austin to conduct a examine evaluating how to improved hook up lower-entry communities to grocery retailers.

Council Associates Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Kathie Tovo, José “Chito” Vela and Ann Kitchen co-sponsored the resolution. Council customers are set to vote on it Thursday.

About 14.7% of Austin residents knowledgeable food stuff insecurity in 2021, according to metropolis facts. In 2019 in Travis County, 12.8% of households professional food insecurity, which was larger than the national common of 10.9%. When the coronavirus pandemic struck Austin in 2020, foods insecurity elevated to 17%.

“In Austin and this affluent, great metropolis that we all love, we continue to have food deserts,” claimed Fuentes, whose district incorporates food items-insecure locations. “We have neighborhoods that do not have a grocery shop nearby, and it is really even compounded by these who really don’t have adequate community transportation choices. So we want to ensure that our transportation method is getting into account the meals obtain will need.”

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About 50 Civics Lab college students for months labored to produce a proposal — which they introduced to CapMetro and metropolis officers before this thirty day period — to hook up public transportation to grocery retailers and other wholesome food stuff destinations in the metropolis.

The students’ investigation discovered that, in Austin, 33 regions are categorised as “food stuff deserts” or food items-insecure areas, where at the very least 500 men and women or 33% of the populace live far from a grocery shop.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s food items entry atlas, these locations in the city sit almost fully east of Interstate 35, which is a historic dividing line separating low-revenue neighborhoods with Black and Hispanic people from the relaxation of Austin.

“Communities that lack obtain to healthier foodstuff go through from far greater premiums of overall health situations like coronary heart condition, most cancers and diabetes,” the Civics Lab proposal and research states. “Communities that are disproportionately influenced by food stuff insecurity are reduced-income and communities of coloration, eventually making substantial well being disparities inside of Austin.”

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Supplies are gathered at the Central Texas Food Bank in February.

Materials are collected at the Central Texas Meals Lender in February.

Furthermore, the quantity of vehicle entrepreneurs is dwindling in Austin, “fostering a heavier dependence on and desire for trusted and productive community transportation,” the proposal and study condition.

On Wednesday, Fuentes, Renteria and Austin Mayor Steve Adler will declare April 21 to be Austin Meals Insecurity Recognition Day.

Austin American-Statesman reporter Natalia Contreras can be reached at 512-626-4036 or [email protected] Abide by her on Twitter and Fb, @NataliaECG.

This post initially appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Students’ operate to deal with foodstuff insecurity ignites Austin resolution

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